Applied anthropology

Applied anthropology is “a branch of anthropology that concerns itself with applying anthropological knowledge to achieve practical goals, usually in the service of an agency outsied the traditional academic setting” (Ember et al., 2011: 516). In Chapter 28, the text discusses various “social problems” which applied anthropology can help address.

Consider, in particular, natural disasters and famine. Natural disasters may seem beyond human control, but their effects are not.

“Between 1960 and 1980, 43 natural disasters in Japan killed an average of 63 people per disaster. During the same period, 17 natural disasters in Nicaragua killed an average of 6,235 people per disaster. In the Unites States, between 1960 and 1976, the average flood or other environmental disturbance killed just one person…”

Discuss the reality that natural disasters have different effects and mortality rates in different economies. How can applied anthropology help make things safer for all humans in terms of earthquakes and famines? What are our responsibilites, as practicing anthropologists, to other people?

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